THERE IS A MOMENT in Ang Lee's The Ice Storm when a father stands, suitcase in hand, in the doorway of his son's bedroom. "I'm back!" he announces cheerfully. His son stares at him as if he's never seen him before. "You ... you were gone?" he stutters. It is the axis upon which the whole film rotates. After "Pinteresque silence" and "Hitchcockian suspense", we may one day talk about "Ang Lee excruciating family moments".

Millions more flock to flicks

A sharp 35-per-cent rise in film audiences in just the first three months of this year shows that British cinema is continuing to revive.

British stars fail to top Hollywood bill

British film stars have lost their clout in Hollywood. Not one figures in this year's annual ranking of Hollywood's 25 most powerful actors and actresses, while only one English director makes the film-maker's list.

Why puritan America just loves Jane Austen


'Fans do like to know the truth'

John Fisher, head of entertainments, Thames TV, and producer of 'Strike it Lucky':

IN BRIEF: Hurley talks tough

Hurley talks tough

Is society breeding child-killers?

Such grotesque deaths arouse in us fears that cannot be rationalised or assuaged

Divine denial

Divine denial

Birt condemns BBC's Hugh Grant coverage

John Birt, the director-general of the BBC, will tomorrowround on the corporation's recent news coverage of Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley, saying there was too much and it went too far.

ISMISMNew concepts for the Nineties; No. 23: grovelism

It has been the week of the grovel. Seldom has that rule of politics "never apologise, never explain" been so comprehensively scuppered. This is partly the fault of John Major. Thanks to him, the politicians who supported the wrong candidate had to swallow their words. There was a particular pleasure to be had in watching so many Conservative politicians imitating the behaviour of Bolsheviks when they too confessed that their admiration for the great leader was immortal, even if their lives were about to end.

Never apologise, never explain

TRULY, a remarkable week, a septem dies mirabilis. First, England beating the West Indies in a test match at Lord's; then Hugh Grant's spectacular fall from his remorselessly extended state of public grace; next, John Major giving a stirring impression of a stand-up comic in the House of Commons; and, now, sensational news from Auckland. The Queen, as we report on Page One, is to apologise. A New Zealand act of parliament acknowledging the theft by Britain of Maori land will shortly be given the royal assent and signed by her in London. We hope she knows what she is doing. The long retreat from the divine right to rule, marked by such signposts as 1688, 1936, Royal It's A Knockout, Budgie the helicopter and the decision to pay taxes, has left but few perks; and the greatest of them was surely that being Queen meant never having to say sorry. Indeed, it is hard to think of any sort of royal apology since Henry II did penance for ordering the death of Beckett.

Young (and old) pretenders

One noteworthy thing about the Tory leadership contest is that the declared contestants are not half so interesting as the undeclared contestants, so today I am ignoring the two men already with their hats in the ring and bringing you a list of some of those who will be slugging it out in the second ballot.

Prostitute delivers a blow to Hugh Grant's image


Men - they just can't help it

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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine